A map and a 7-year-old show how much the 'vaccine war' has changed in 5 years.
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Gates Foundation

Odds are you've heard measles mentioned in the news recently. And what they say is true: Cases are on the rise. The maps don't lie.

Here's what measles looked like 5 years ago:


Fast forward to today:

Some blame it all on poor herd immunity.

Herd immunity ... what?! It's a term that has been floating around a lot lately. It's basically when large percentages of a community have become immune to a contagious disease through a vaccination. Because they are immune, there is little opportunity for an outbreak, and they are able to protect the people around them who are unable to safely receive the vaccination.

So when a person doesn't get vaccinated against a disease — but could — it can weaken the “herd" and look something like this:

Situation 1: No one is immunized. Contagious disease spreads through the population.

Situation 2: Some of the population gets immunized. Contagious disease spreads through some of the population.

Situation 3: Most of the population gets immunized. Spread of contagious disease is contained.

Rhett Krawitt isn't vaccinated.

In California, 7-year-old Rhett Krawitt is at risk of turning from blue to red on that chart above. It's not because he doesn't want to be vaccinated — it's because his immune system is too weak to handle it (thanks for absolutely nothing, leukemia). So he and his family must rely on the people around him to stay healthy until his body is strong enough to handle vaccines. There are hundreds of other kids just like him.

But more and more parents are deciding to not vaccinate their kids these days, for a number of reasons. And depending on the state they live in, that's legally OK. But if people are getting sick because of it ... well, then that seems like it'd cause some problems.

It comes down to the question: Should parents be required to vaccinate their kids?

Right now, it all depends where you live.

There are two main non-medical ways parents are able to say "no" to getting their kids vaccinated:

  • A religious exemption (48 states allows this)
  • A personal belief exemption (almost half of all states allow this)

It'll be interesting to see what happens to those numbers. So far in 2015, at least 19 states have introduced legislation addressing both of these exemptions. For instance, in California, where Rhett lives, legislators have introduced a measure to end the state's personal belief exemption. In Missouri, a House bill requires that parents be notified if any student at their child's school has not been immunized.

We can all agree: No one wants a sick kid.

But should kids like Rhett be able to dictate the laws for everyone?

Click here to see your state's vaccine laws — and if legislators are trying to change them.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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Woman shares breakup letter to foot before amputation.

It's amazing how even the most harrowing of decisions can be transformed with a good sense of humor.

After suffering an ankle injury during a horseback riding accident at age 13, Jo Beckwith had exhausted all other options to escape from the lingering pain from the fracture, leaving her with no better choice than to amputate.

She could have buckled under the weight of such life-altering news (no one would blame her). Instead, Jo threw a farewell party the day before her surgery. Some of her friends showed up to write a goodbye letter, fun and lighthearted messages scribbled directly onto the ankle.

@footlessjo

The messages that came into #amputation with me! #funny #therapeutic #disability #amputee #fypシ


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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."